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The Art of Less Doing

Lesson 11 of 19

Stop Running Errands

Ari Meisel

The Art of Less Doing

Ari Meisel

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Lesson Info

11. Stop Running Errands

Lesson Info

Stop Running Errands

I actually just want to start this day and see if anybody's had any reflections since we covered so much yesterday there's there's going to be interesting shift in content today yesterday was really sort of about great laying the the groundwork for the whole overarching principles and getting into a different mindset today we're gonna have a little bit more of the nitty gritty as far as I'm concerned but let me just start off and see if anybody had any sort of reflections from yesterday either here or out there in the world so as you get going and you start doing less because you're being more productive, what stops you from saying oh look I have now extra time what stops you from anymore to that task list and then just putting yourself back in the same place well I don't want you to stop out anymore honestly, it depends why we're doing this you know and actually that's really that's really great first reflection I talked in the morning yesterday about why we do these things what is yo...

ur biggest productivity challenge? What motivates us to do these things and for me it was overcoming a chronic illness and now it's really about being able to spend as much time with my wife and my children and family as I possibly can at the same time constantly trying to improve myself in every way that I can so I don't look for downtime that's not what we're trying to achieve, and I mentioned that yesterday how the point of this is not for you guys to not do anything and you know completely for every times you're not doing anything, the point is really for everybody is able to get out of their own way so that they can see the things that they should be doing or that they want to be doing or the things that they never thought that they could dio so if well and quite honestly, when people do begin doing this stuff that's not a reason, we'll take a few weeks to sort of reflect and recompose there's nothing wrong with that. You have to decide what you want to do with that time because the problem isn't that there's not enough to dio the problem is that there's not enough of the right thing to do unnecessarily and that you can't see that so being able to free up that time so that you can then fill it with the things that you actually want is how we really enrich our lives. Wait, we talked yesterday about timing and can you go over a little bit about how to know if it's the right time or howto look at our situations are our lives and figure out how we can figure out what's the best time to do certain things? Sure so we talked a lot about fault that c c yesterday, which I personally think is a really great tool for that simply because of that snooze function, only that it has built into it, so it allows youto try and get closer and closer, but realistically, the the adjective that I hear from people all the time is the word overwhelmed, right there always, they're overwhelmed by what's going on in this, and the short answer is that when you stop using that word, then you're probably in a good place, and I don't support necessarily optimizing and doing all the things we were talking about, just for the sake of julian, right? We have to have a reason that motivation that we're talking about. So if you find that what you're doing is not working that's, when we have to change things, and then when we get to a good place, it doesn't mean that we can stop necessarily, but at least you know, I'm on the right path and that's. The thing, too, is that it's not at least I found that when you're figuring out timing for something, whether it's a time to write or a time to work out, or whatever it is, it's it's, usually not a situation where you try it at ten o'clock one day, and that's totally wrong so you have to switch to ten pm are ten a m to ten p m usually a little closer than you think so working with those and making sort of smaller and smaller adjustments as we get closer to the goal is really what it takes anyone yes he's back when I first thought about being more productive and in the start it takes time to set the system up but when you start doing things it saves a lot of time so I thought the initial effort is worth that though it seems like a lot of the start yes of course so as I was saying it's you know just do it just jump and you start what I hope that everyone sort of sees from this is that all of this stuff is possible you know it's it's not it's examples of how this stuff does work and how you can integrate the stuff in your life so hopefully I would expect that that would be motivating enough teo at least give it a shot you know? Because I know the backlash that I get from people who can I say get rid of your to do list you know and change all the way that you do your timing so that you have a you know, a short work week it's different but they have to try it and usually it's that first step that sort of world's everything together and then you begin to see the benefits right away everything is about a feedback loop, right? So whether you're trying to form a new habit as and when I asked about yesterday or change the way that you do work if we don't have some sort of bio feedback or accountability you know these are all terms that were brought up yesterday if you don't have something showing you that you're doing it right, then it's really hard to keep on that path fortunately and I feel that with a lot of things that we talked about, you do see some sort of immediate benefit we do have some fantastic takeaways to share online, don't we? Holly leo yeah our chat rooms they're all abuzz I want to give a shout out to mama and pennsylvania mile high guy colorado casey from poughkeepsie we have saudi arabia, mexico city, iceland all over some of the reflections jamie dee said she bought the course last night so excited so excited started applying some of the basic principles and brought her in box from five thousand un read messages down to three thousand in about twenty minutes whole m g this is so wonderful, bambara says she has a car here she has a reflection ordered the help of a virtual assistant in russia and in russian she's the one who who asked the question and love it at nine thirty a m I was already it was already reported that the task was in process and in forty minutes it was done and I did my work at that time wow! Jeff says speed li is a game changer have thirty blog's and it's replacing my magazine subscriptions so really great staff people are getting a lot of benefit for those of you out there in the chat I want to remind you that you can also join our front row creative live dot com slash front row and grab the best seat in the house actually went to iceland for my honeymoon so it's kind of cool that someone from iceland eyes to any of them it's really interesting but if I get to talk about what you're seeing these are things that actually and everything I tried to recommend something you can do immediately and start and see the benefits right away so it's so gratifying to hear that everyone out there is starting to try this stuff and see real benefits from it sausages wasn't very much today but um I was just wondering do you have a century? And when you gather the data on dh er um biofeedback during that time what do you collect all those data at once and then try and make an analysis of it and do something about it or do you just take it as you go along so it depends a zai as I said yesterday and still the case I am not a data scientist, but my belief is that did you collect enough data and you I sort of know what you're looking for or you know what you're trying to look for? Of course. Well, the issue with that then is that you don't want to end up seeing a correlation that doesn't exist because you're trying to see it but generally speaking yes, you know, if you start to see something happening a correlation of some sort or some cause and effect at a small level usually more and more data will either support that or go against it. So usually what I'll do in those cases is I'll get enough to start to see something and then maybe I'll continue just solidified a little more, but generally speaking, I tend to collect all sorts of data at once I don't focus on just one thing at a time okay, so those were great those air really, really great I'm so glad to hear that people are getting those kinds of ideas and actions from it. So before we get into the topic for this session, I want to revisit that idea of motivation and thank you again for bringing that up I failed to sort of point this out yesterday actually, but this machine behind me is a rube goldberg machine that the it was very craftily created here for me, and the idea of a rube goldberg machine basically is a very, very complicated machine that performs a very simple action in this case, I think the bell rings and the ball falls, and but eventually the book turns around so there's it was almost like a joke for a long time. It was a comic book kind of thing where you would have these ridiculously complex machines that would then do a very simple actions turning a book around are opening a door or lighting a candle so it's a really good image for a lot of things that we talked about, one of which is the complexity in life that we're constantly trying to simplify and trying to get ahold of to get to a goal, and you don't know what that is, and especially with a rube goldberg machine starting at the beginning, you never know what the goal is going to be a man unless you created it, but so many different things will happen in between the beginning of the end that it's almost impossible for you to really know where you're going. And we talked about that, too, about kind of getting out of your own way so that you can actually see the things that are happening in the things that you should be working on. It also speaks to the processes that we talked about, because not only can you sort of cut through that mess or that jumble, but you can really start to use it to your advantage when you're being to optimize it automated. And now it starts so that you begin tto bring some water to it and actually be able to control it again. So how does this week the motivation pulling this sort of altogether? Obviously, I overcame a chronic illness and without giving too much detail about how that's all been happening, there happened. But basically, seven years ago, I was diagnosed with crones disease, which is a horribly painful and general considered incurable disease. Okay, so it's an insurmountable goal is most people would consider it. I was taking a lot of medicine about sixteen pills a day, and one of those was a forty year old chemotherapy like drug for leukemia, basically so there's, all sorts of side effects that happened from that. And I was really sick not only from the illness itself but from the medicine and the, uh, treatment that I was undergoing. So at that time, after one particularly bad night in the hospital and where I realized I had to do something else than what I was doing, the motivation at that time was just to get healthy. Just so that I could not be so angry at my body and angry what was going on that I had no control over it was it's very hard to be in a situation where you're you're feel like you're at war with your own body so you know, cutting to the chase there long story short self tracking self experimentation got off the medicine and was healthy, but then I needed a goal and iron man france became that goal was able to do that as well and along the way, realizing that stress was such a big component of what was going on that's where less doing came out of just so that I could try to free up that time but then I was healthy, so what was he trying to free up the time for for my new family, my wife and I had already been married, but we had children and then at that point and now we have three and so the motivation for me is to be able to enjoy spending time with my family, be there for them and being there for them as far as I'm certain means improving myself as well. So one of the most inspirational books that I have ever read is called emergency by neil strauss and in that book, basically what happened was after nine eleven neil had sort of a freak out about the state of the world and decided that he wanted to get a second citizenship so that you could get out of the country in case under captains and once he began on that path he realized that he was also really ill prepared to deal with a world that had been gone toe crap basically he didn't know what he would be able to do it himself so he started to learn life skills as he called it and he became a paramedic he learned how to fly a plane he learned particular forms of martial arts and urban survival in all these different things so it was tiled me for me reading that when I was going through all this stuff and the point of this story is that in figuring out all the systems having a family overcoming his illness I became any empty have a pilot's license I have scuba diving license I am actually in the process of getting a second edition ship because my wife was french so it was incredibly motivating and it's all these things that I've tried to do to enrich myself and philip that time with the things that I actually want while at the same time building less doing and being able to share this with all of you so sorry if I sound a little long winded but I I really wanted to solidify for everyone why we are here voice singing with the book emergency so today in this session we're going to be talking about one of my favorite topics which is stop running errands just stop on aeryn's okay next session so errands are not efficient and you should not be doing them the on ly errand that I'm okay with people doing is grocery shopping because it's something that people get very specific about and that doesn't mean that we can't get rid of that your life as well, but people tend to get very picky about getting just that right candle open things so I sometimes people actually do enjoy shopping and social doing it once a week and making it is optimal it's possible, but there is several services that I'm going to talk about that make this possible and for those of you watching around the world, there are similar services in many, many countries around the world and I have list of them all over the place but I'm going to focus on things that are in the u s right now and if you wantto have a discussion about it we can address those resources. So school fight the first one is amazon subscribe insane but if anybody from amazon is watching you guys are terrible at marketing some of your absolutely best services most people actually how many people here know about amazon struggle okay, just so you guys know that's two out of nine people ridiculous because they're absolutely best thing that they offer lambs on subscribe and save allows you to subscribe to any non perishable item that amazon cells okay, so there's a couple examples there they've got, uh, diapers and dog food and, uh, detergent, but it goes way beyond that. So with the subscription, the way it works is you pick how many units of it of the item you want to get in hell if you don't get them, so maybe three of this particular thing every month or three every two months or five every four months, whatever it might be, and you create these descriptions, you get an immediate five to twenty percent discount off of the thing, which is already cheaper because it's amazon in most cases and you get an email a week before they all ship saying, this is stuff like a ship next week so you can cancel it any time you can get extra shipment at any time, and amazon can realistically become sort of yore digital pantry, so you don't have to worry about being at the supermarket and thinking, do I have enough toilet paper? You could be at home and say, you're getting a shipment of paper next weekend and look in the closet or what you need to do so in case you don't remember, I have three kids, two dogs in the last three years my wife and I have not had to shop for this is not an exhaustive list but uh toothpaste, toothbrushes, mouthwash shaving razors shaving cream dog food baby diapers in two sizes baby wipes detergent, dishwashing detergent, toilet paper, paper towels, bottled water for the occasion that we have those the list goes on and on okay, so we have literally saved thousands of hours and probably hundreds of dollars doing it this way things like pasta get pasta because they sell things like bulk items so you can get nuts and seeds and rocco kolkata you could get all of these things on a subscription base so every time we go to the supermarket now we basically just buy fresh ingredients and any time we're like oh, we need this you know what if it's something that is in a jar or a box I'll be like well can we get this on amazon and we never we do so our shopping trips become much more enjoyable on dh much more targeted and we can sort of just focus on those fresh ingredients that we need in the staples like the grains the rice is things like that they're all just there and delivered for us so our ups guy is very, very friendly with us and we get about stacks and stacks of boxes every day it's also great for things that have a timing associated with them so wei don't use a bit of water filters but that's a good example is I think britta water filters need to be changed every ninety days okay so why why a look at the filter and see like oh it's time to change it and then go ahead and buy them or order them why set a reminder on follow that you see every three months to get new filters why not just have them show up every three months so that the box arrives from amazon you're open it oh great a water filter it's time to change the filter every six months we get one order front amazon of nine volt batteries what is the on ly thing now it is that takes nine volt batteries smoke detectors yes, thank you one night I was putting one of my sons down to bed and I got to the crib and the alarm went off because the battery was dead and he woke up and I said this will never happen again so every six months that happens and it's annoying and I go and change all the the batteries but it's done something I don't have to worry about this that's why I'm concerned is a huge game changer okay? You don't have to shop for the stuff you don't have to carry things you don't have a stress about something that is so menial that you shouldn't have to be stressing about just be says, I live with five roommates, and we're always struggling with whose time it is to buy the shared goods, the toilet paper that this show up this service will rock for us. Exactly. A lot of people don't realize that you can get these things from amazon, and they said they don't really market this service particularly well uh, if you live in a situation where you don't have a doorman or you don't have a house where like packages could be left, they've actually solved that, too. In some major in most major cities now are not most but several major cities now amazon has something called amazon lockers I heard on a hot, which is where they have these sort of bus station style lockers at places like cvs and walgreens and stuff, and you can have the packages delivered there you get an email with a code saying that your packages there and you're going picking up so there's really no excuse not to try this out. As I mentioned before for groceries on the east coasters freshdirect and I think out here you have people, but almost everywhere now in big places, you've got some sort of grocery delivery stories, so if you don't want to deal with the fresh stuff, either, then there's a way around that as well so amazon really covers the basis for, as they said, thousands of hours of your time and a lot of your money that you can really save on its it's shocking for more specific real world task, you know, yesterday people were asking about things that you can and can't have virtual assistance to, so obviously they are virtual, their remote. They can't do things that require physical activity, that's where taskrabbit comes in, and if you haven't turned taskrabbit, it's a on demand labor force, more or less and it's in many, many cities around the country, I think internationally as well at this point, so the cool thing with taskrabbit is it's, not just about like deliveries and current owners, they can do that, but essentially, as with a lance, you'll post on taskrabbit what you need done, and then the various task rabbits who have all been vetted and background checked and have feedback ratings will then bid on it and give you the price that they want to do the job. Oh, because it is a competitive marketplace usually get pretty good pricing, and they're usually fairly quick. To respond, but this is what's so cool with the taskrabbit is, as I said, it's, not just a courier, you can get pretty detailed on what you want. So as opposed to someone who might go toe I kia and get something and bring it back, you can tell them that you want someone who can go to like a get the thing and bring it back to your place, put it together, and then organize your clothes and the new closet that they just got if you want. I have had people use task rabbits for moving. I just had a client this past week used a taskrabbit to come in and physically organize his office that's a great one for taskrabbit e I e I used to live a couple blocks from an apple store, and every time a new eye phone came out, you would see five or six task rabbits in line waiting to get apple products for someone waiting for him. And actually, now I think they even issue a standard price it's like fifty dollars, to wait six hours for an apple device, which, by the way, they'll be. Usually you'll usually be doing other things, other tasks on their phone or something for people while they're doing that. Taskrabbit scan new virtual task. They can do sort of virtual assistant kind of stuff, but that's not usually what I would use them for. Uh, the other great thing that a task rabbit works for is if you need to have something done in another city. So somebody asked yesterday about having someone take a picture of time swear they could do that. It might be a little bit small task to have taskrabbit, but about a year ago we were living in new york, and my wife's sister and her family were living out here in l a and it was my nephews to your birthday, and we had not gotten him a gift in time. And we knew that he wanted to slide for my kia. So I had a taskrabbit go to ikea, get this light, bring it back to the house put together and then the guy's saying, happy birthday to my nephew, which is great on now that I don't live in new york city anymore. It's really an amazing way to kind of get things done and sort of be that extension of you. And this is a perfect example where people say, you know, is it worth it like, am I just being lazy? No, you're not being lazy, you're being efficient and it's also worth pointing out, as I said yesterday, that virtual assistants are not below you, it's not that you're not it's that you're too good for these tasks. People make a fulltime living running task for people all day long, and they get good at it and they get into their own groove in their own rhythm, and they enjoy the excitement of working on various different problems for different people. So unless you can describe yourself as that, you should not be doing it and it's worth it for fifteen to twenty dollars or something or whatever it ends up being in, it usually can be that chief to have somebody go shopping for you and bring fresh ingredients within an hour of what you need done. It's one of those services similar to a fancy are with them virtual assistance where your imagination is a bit of a limit because the people who do this have a very wide range of skills, and you, khun, sometimes go that extra step to see if they can do that thing for you as well. Uh, one particularly funny use that I remember with a task rabbit is a a friend of mine who actually only virtual assistant company, oddly enough, had a wedding with several hundred guests, and he had a list of the he called it the third tier of guests. It was about one hundred fifty people. He had a taskrabbit come into his office and hand write a hundred fifty. Thank you notes too. Those people so that's simply one example is also stars called red beacon, which is similar but it's more for home services. So plumbers, electricians, handyman, that kind of thing. And they have an app that works really, really well, and you can take a picture of what you need done. You could describe it by voice, whatever you need and people always struggling with that kind of thing. You know, if they have a plumbing issue and they don't know a good plumber or they're not members of angie's list or something like that, and they want to get somebody sort of on demand. So it's really easy to take a picture of a pipe that's not working, you know, the womens clogs and then get bids from various people who again have been vetted and can come in and do the work quickly and relatively inexpensively. We are in san francisco here, so post people should be familiar with a lot of these services actually, now that I'm thinking about it, but uber is the on demand black car service, so instead of hailing cabs, you have the uber app and you can pull it up and basically the image here is a really important one because it's not just like getting a cab it's like having your own personal chauffeur for a little bit of time, and one of the interesting things that I like using something like uber for is when I do have to personally run errands, whether it's dropping off a document or something, or signing something that requires my actual presence rather than having my own car and having to park and having to deal with the stress of that it's really nice to have your own driver for an hour or two and you can kind of hit all those points, it's one of the few ways that you could make things more efficient and I'll give you a good example for that, too. Last year I had to speak in syracuse, new york, on which I was living in new york city at the time and the university that was mr his numbers he was bringing me up to speak, and they had offered to pay for a flight now flight at the time when wife I wasn't really sort of widespread and also it would require me going to the airport, dealing with all that stress and then transportation to and from and all that end up being like a six hour trip, essentially, to do it on the plane, where his driving would have been four and a half hours, or something like that, something that I didn't particularly want to do myself. But I was willing to do that to avoid a plane. In this case, I've actually able to get a driver to drive me, and I was able to work the entire time and end up being cheaper. In this case, it was paid for by the people we're having me speak. But I got to work in the back of the car. I got to sleep on the way back, and it was just a better use of my time. So even if you own a car, sometimes something like this makes more sense, because you could make better use of that time.

Class Description

Get ready to learn a proven way to optimize your productivity. 

In this course, achievement and efficiency expert Ari Meisel explains a systematic way for accomplishing the things you need to do so you can open up more time for the things you want to do. You’ll learn to optimize, automate, and outsource both personal and professional tasks. 

Ari will help you identify which tasks are monopolizing your time and help you build strategies to make those tasks less time-consuming. Ari will also cover simple strategies for getting through everyday responsibilities like errands and paperwork more quickly and efficiently. You’ll also learn about applying the same level of efficient prioritization to your personal life, including how to approach health and fitness in a more streamlined way.

By the end of this course, you’ll be on your way to an easier, organized, balanced way of living.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Optimize Automate and Outsource Everything.pdf

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Book Excerpt.pdf


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WOW - I only watched the intro video (about 1/2hr in length), and already I'm completely blown away ... I'm definitely buying this course! Already a huge fan of Evernote, (lol - stone tablet!) but the other websites also seem very useful. And if it's a matter of the best parts of the movie are all in trailer - I will be back to let you know!

Amy Cantrell

Lots of great info! I love the concept of getting ideas out of your head, leaving your mind open to new ideas, and using Evernote to keep ideas and notes organized. The email tips alone could be worth the price of the class. Creating your own work week, tackling difficult tasks when you are at your best, making smart use of your time, progress begets progress, all good stuff!

Gina Bégin

I've already recommended this course to a number of people and followed up with Ari's team to go even further — though, sincerely, there is so much incredible depth in this course that if you're just starting out or in the midst of optimizing your workflow and cleaning up your "plate" of tasks, you will be blown away. He discusses great ways to use automation (IFTTT, Zapier) and how to make better use of Evernote, tricks to ... well, pretty much increase productivity in every aspect of life from health to work. I research this stuff all the time, but had no idea there was so much more out there. Well done, Ari.